Simplicity Monday

We when think of simplicity, we often think of harmony….Yet, I love what Kim John Payne notes in his book , “Simplicity Parenting”:

“As parents we must not become “harmony addicted.”  It’s tempting to hope that every day might be a sort of “rainbow experience” for our children.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  If only we could suspend them in a sort of happiness bubble.  But they need conflict.  As Helen Keller noted, “Character cannot be developed in quiet and ease.”  Children need to find ways to cope with difficult situations; they need to learn that they can.”

The important part of this, for children of all ages, is to have parents who are steady and connected to them during these sorts of touch points of childhood. Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part Four- More Media

This is the portal that in so many ways is even more difficult than television screens, because phones that are everything (GPS, email, Internet, clocks) are everywhere, and many friends and family outside the immediate family of a  child who know of a family’s “no screen” wishes may still feel very comfortable sharing something off their phone or laptop or camera.

I would like to run through first what many Waldorf Schools outline as developmentally appropriate by age for children and some other areas of media, what I often see in Waldorf homeschooling communities who have both OLDER and younger children (I think if Waldorf homeschool communities have just children grades kindergarten through second grade, for example, some of these issues will not be as front and center as those who have a large proportion of children grades six and up. Things become more difficult with those older children!).  Please do take what resonates with you, know that families make decisions and do things counter to these recommendations, but that these ideas are food for thought and discussion within your own family. Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part Three- Media

Hello Dear Readers,

I am sorry I have been away from here for some time now.  I have had a difficult time which I am sure I will write about at some point, but not today.    I am back today with a continuation of our series about portals, and pondering health for our children as they grow up.

The portal of media can be one of the most difficult things for families to navigate.   This is the post that probably will upset folks and irritate them, so I would like to remind you to take just what resonates with you.  Most of us probably make a few choices that are different than what I am laying out below, but I urge you to think mindfully about all of this and decide what is right for your family.

Those of you familiar with Waldorf Education may associate this method of education with no media, no computers, etc. but to me, this is not the intent behind Waldorf Education at all.  In fact, Rudolf Steiner felt that one had to love the time in which he or she lived, and that each period in history built something of a foundation for the next one.  In other words, we may now be living in the ‘age of machines’ but we are headed into an age of complete imagination, if we do things properly as a society. So we need to embrace where we are in time, but also in a way that makes sense for the development of the child.

The other point I would like to make is not specific to Waldorf Education, but just something I would like to point out, especially for my American readers.  Continue reading

Favorite Books For Lent

We often walk through Advent with our favorite Saints, and I have suggested a variety of Celtic Saints to provide adult inspiration during Lent.  I try very hard to remember that there are fifty days of Eastertide coming, and to try not to rush into Easter when there are so many wonderful things about the anticipation and reflection that occurs during Lent.

There are some wonderful books for Lent.  Here are a few of our family’s favorites:

I love this book about Saint Kevin of Ireland and the blackbird’s nest.  It tells the story of how Saint Kevin came to gain self-discipline by having to hold a blackbird’s nest for the forty days of Lent.  This story would be especially wonderful for the second grader in your house. Continue reading

Pondering Portals: Part Two–Books

We are talking today about pondering portals, and what to do when the protectiveness of the early years begins to open up.  I think, again, we must foster an attitude of health in our hearts, of acceptance and love for what happens when in our family, just the way we have a ho-hum attitude about complying with the legal age of drinking or when to drive a car.  Some things do come when, and it not like trying to hold a flood of things from the world back at all, but more about letting things unfold naturally as children grow. Continue reading